Before I get too far into this subject, let me be very clear. This is not an article about Alex Mauer, the musician who bought numerous DMCA take-down’s against Starr Mazer and River City Ransom video’s on YouTube. This has effected hundreds of YouTube content creators, with some potentially having there channels closed. She also issued DMCA take-down’s to Steam for both games, this lead to the games being remove from the Steam store. Mauer’s actions have just highlighted the issues with the DMCA take-down law, how easily abused it is. But this article is about the effects those DMCA’s have had.
So if your looking for more info on Alex Mauer, I would suggest you check her Twitter and Sid Alphas videos for both sides of this dumpster fire of a situation, but if you do please don’t feed that fire!
So what is a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down?
A DMCA Takedown is:
When content is removed from a website at the request of the owner of the content or the owner of the copyright of the content. It is a well established, accepted, internet standard followed by website owners and internet service providers.
Any owner of content has the right to process a takedown notice against a website owner and/or an Online Service Provider (e.g. ISP, hosting company etc.) if the content owner’s property is found online without their permission.
DMCA Protection & Takedown Services. (2017). What is a DMCA Takedown?. [online] Available at: http://www.dmca.com/FAQ/What-is-a-DMCA-Takedown [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].
So lets also be clear that this isn’t YouTubes fault ether, all websites based or doing business in the USA must abide by DMCA laws. While YouTube could have done more than they have, its fundamentally not there fault that DMCA law can be abused in this way.
Of course you might still be wondering how this effects you, as a Linux gamer? That’s were things get a little more complicated. You see on paper a false DMCA takedown can be easily stopped by going to court. But this cost money and Indie developers are generally working on tight budgets. As such they don’t have the money for expensive court cases. This means an indie developer could be left in ruins by a false DMCA takedown. Without the money to go to court, not earning anything from game sales. There would be nothing they could do.
So how does this effect the Linux gaming community?
As over 90% of games currently coming to Linux are from indie developers, it seems pretty clear how. Alex Mauer maybe the first person to do this, but you can be sure she won’t be the last. Someone with too much time on there hands could cripple the Linux gaming community, just for the fun of it. Worrying to say the least.
Call to arms. . .
So what can you do? Well a couple of things, the first is get involved. If you head over to www.changecopyright.org and sign up for there news letter. This is a campaign run by Mozilla, the very same people who have supported Linux users for years with Firefox and Thunderbird. The second thing is too support our indie developers, both Starr Mazer and River City Ransom are on Linux. While Starr Mazer is the only one currently available, I would urge any Linux gamer to strongly consider picking up these titles. We need to get behind these developers and show our full support.